January 5th, 1996
January 5th, 1996
Well here we are again. Back in the house of hardcore. The land of extreme. Time to gather round the cool-aide troth and get those frying pans ready. Time to to hit people in the head with various random objects, and fall off of high things, you know....Wrestling!
At least that's what it says on the marquee anyway.
None of pro wrestling looks anything like wrestling to me. It makes me laugh sometimes when I think about it. Nothing makes me laugh like pro wrestling though. It's just so goofy, I love it.
Greco Roman and Freestyle wrestling gets tagged as "amateur", and these are the "pro's". Kurt Angle was just a couple of months away from proving he was the best "amateur" wrestler in the world at this time in 1996. Meanwhile, over in the pro's, Hulk Hogan was strait up dominating WCW Nitro to the point of it being downright ridiculous. Hogan was in the early stages of feuding with the Alliance To End Hulkamania(The Horseman & Dungeon Of Doom). The fans in WCW were so sick of having Hogan shoved down their throats that the Hulkster was beginning to get 60/40 crowd reactions. Some times worse. With that said nobody can deny that WCW had the occasional solid gold gem, with some of the all time greats in their prime on their roster. Gradually over the course of 1996 WCW accumulated, at least in my opinion, the greatest roster in pro wrestling history.
Meanwhile over in WWF they were getting ready to give HBK the top spot, with Bret getting ready to take the year off. Diesel's character started showing flashes of that dynamic heel/face "Tweener" personality that became one of the calling cards of the "Attitude Era". Diesel was booked as a strait up heel, but he would show different sides of his personality at times that would get cheers from the crowd. Something about the character really had a down to earth edge to it ever since he dropped his belt to Bret Hart at Survivor Series. There were still a lot of the cartoony characters, and Raw was still a lot of filler/squash matches, but you could see things changing. Another sign of the changes coming was the Goldust character that debuted in late 95. I still vividly remember some of those old debut Goldust promos, particularly the one where he talks about the original Night of the Living Dead film. Goldust was a character that was a couple of years before his time. Perhaps the most important debut in the WWF in January of 96 was that of Steve Austin. Austin debuted at the Royal Rumble as the Ringmaster, lasting 11 minutes before being eliminated.
Something that I recently discovered about the last show I reviewed(Holiday Hell 95 in Queens NY) is that it set an ECW record for the time with over 1,200 in attendance and over $27,000 for the live gate. Some of the things that were going on behind the scenes in ECW at this time in 1996 was the signing of Mick Foley to the WWF. This was a crucial loss for ECW, but Foley deserved the shot at the big show. His early 96 debut as Mankind is my personal favorite "Face of Foley".
Even though Foley would soon be gone, Shane Douglas was trying to make his way back to ECW. Shane would call Paul Heyman all day long during the day of this show, asking him to do something to get him out of the WWF. Douglas would appear at the show, and during a course of events backstage would eventually get what he wanted. We'll get to some of that later.
This ECW show holds some sentimental value for ECW fans. This is the debut of Rob Van Dam, and the farewell of Public Enemy, who were off to WCW. This is also where the Raven vs Dreamer feud goes into overdrive(as if it weren't there already). This was about 3 weeks prior to the Royal Rumble, and about a month before WCW Superbrawl VI, so lets check it out shall we?
Something about this opening "House Party" graphic screen just screams Windows 95.
Joey Styles opens the show standing in the center of the ring. Bill Alphonso comes out talking about how badly he hates Joey Styles, ECW, and the fans. Alphonso is just not drawing the heat that he was a couple of shows back, and he's coming off like he's trying too hard here. Alphonso asks why Taz doesn't get more interviews. Joey snaps on him and tells him to shut up. Styles screams at Alphonso until Taz comes out. Taz gets up in Joey's face and bullies him around for screaming at Fonzie. The crowd immediately begins chanting for Sabu to come out and save Joey as Taz has him cowered down in the corner. Taz is the exact same height as Joey Styles. Possibly a half inch or so shorter.
Alphonso reaches over Taz's shoulder to smack Joey. What a bitch. I love it though.
Out comes 911.
Bill Alphonso gets up in 911's face smacking him. ECW Comish Todd Gordon comes out and drops Fonzie with a punch. Taz pulls Gordon up off of Alphonso and goes for a punch, but 911 stops his hand. 911 and Taz get up face to face as referees storm the ring to separate them. The crowd starts chanting "Let Them GO!" as more wrestlers come out of the back to keep them apart. 911 is forced to the back as Taz stands in the ring with El Puerto Ricano, who is left in the ring all by his lonesome after the pull apart.
Ricano is wearing a t-shirt with Fonzie's face with a circle crossout over it. Bill Alphonso slaps Ricano and rips his shirt off. Taz sneaks up on Ricano from behind and dumps him on his head, literally. Joey tries to save Ricano, but Taz gets up in his face.
911 comes back out. Jason and The Eliminators(Perry Saturn, still rocking the long black hair, & John Kronus) come out and floor 911 with Total Elimination. The Eliminators beat up on 911 until Rey Mysterio comes out.
Think about it for a second. 911 of all people(7', 300lbs) actually needs help from someone else, and he gets it from a little guy that weighs about 130 pounds soaking wet. I love it. Really interesting team that had a lot of potential.
911 & Rey Misterio vs The Eliminators
The Eliminators miss double moonsaults aimed at Rey, then Rey lands about 3 really awesome Lucha moves in about 7 seconds, capping it all off with a beautiful Moonsault splash from the top to the outside for the "OH MY GOD!".
Rey's black outfit here is awesome. Rey hits Saturn with several springboard maneuvers. Everything is so fast it's quite remarkable. Rey and Saturn go toe to toe for a while with Rey catching him with several headscissors takedowns. Saturn finally takes Rey down. Kronus comes in as 911 finally recovers. The Eliminators work 911's knee over.
Taz comes out and chokes on 911 with a towel.
The crowd chants for "SABU!"
Rey fights with Saturn on the outside as Kronus beats up on 911. Taz is gone. Did he really need to come back out?!
Eliminators start dominating Rey. Kronus lands his flips, which are quite impressive for a man his size. 911 suplexes Saturn. Kronus powerbombs Rey. Total Elimination on 911.
Taz is back again choking 911 with the towel. Taz pulls 911 out of the ring choking him.
The Eliminators continue beating on Rey. Another really stiff powerbomb.
Rey surprises The Eliminators with double DDT's. Rey helps 911 back into the ring and climbs up on his shoulders. Rey challenges Saturn to get up on Kronus' shoulders, and he does. Rey leaps off of 911's shoulders onto Saturn with a hurricanrana for the win.
Eliminators punish Rey with the Total Elimination.
The Pit Bulls and Francine come out kicking ass. Francine kicks Jason's ass. The Eliminators clear the Pit Bulls out of the ring and drop Francine's smoking hot ass with the Total Elimination. Francine was a trained wrestler, but this move was just way too stiff on her. They hit her really hard with it. She looks legit hurt holding her chest. Good god almighty.
The Eliminators escape. The Pit Bulls toss Jason out of the ring.
EMT's come out and carry Francine to the back on a stretcher.
Rey Mysterio is just an absolute athletic phenom here even though he's too young to even buy alcohol probably. He's so fast and on point it's just amazing at times. I like him and 911 working together. That's a really good pair. I don't know who's idea it was to pair them together but I think it was a beautiful match of two guys that complimented each other perfectly. Too bad we didn't get to see the duo get fleshed out in a proper storyline. 911 would have a falling out with Paul Heyman after punking out the entire ring crew in one incident not too long after this show.
One issue I've noticed with Heyman's booking in 95 and this first segment of 96 was the way guys would leave and come back(and sometimes repeat the process in the same segment). Where are these guys going and why?
With all of that said this was a traditional, wild, chaotic, unpredictable ECW match. None of it was advertised or announced, it just happened. One thing after another. The way Puerto Ricano came out to pull Taz & 911 apart only to be insulted and made a fool of, that was just so spontaneous feeling compared to the average booked wrestling segment. I could see how some could be turned off by booking like this. Rey Mysterio coming out to help 911 in the first place is about as random as it gets. Saturn going up to Kronus' shoulders and just sitting there looked pretty goofy too even though it was still an awesome spot. With that said though it was just so unpredictable that I loved it. It all started with one thing(Alphonso coming out to confront Joey Styles, who was opening the show), and it just snowballs into this wild, chaotic incident where storylines progress and intertwine at the pace of a Royal Rumble. This was something that we first really seen Heyman do effectively with the Raven/Richards vs Pit Bulls dog collar match a few reviews back(with Bill Alphonso finally getting his comeuppance via 911 chokeslam). Here with this segment/match we see him continue to use this style of booking, and it eventually became a trademark of ECW. You could usually count on some shit like this unfolding at an ECW show, but you never really knew how it was going to go down. There were times where this style of booking came off as sloppy and clusterfucked, but Heyman would hit the occasional home run with it. I think this was one of them.
Lots of action in this segment, some good storyline progression with The Eliminators drawing heat by busting up The Pitbull's "Beastmaster", and a really great gritty, grimey "Cops" feel to everything.
I don't know how to explain this look with any other term than "Cops", as in the reality television show. This was something that ECW producers Charlie Brucsesse and Ron Buffone worked to achieve from the time they started producing Hardcore TV, and they really perfected it by this point in 96. The way they would move the cameras when they would get up close to the action, the lighting, it all looks like Cops to me. Like a grimey reality show. One of the things I've read about the overall production style of ECW that I really liked was on another forum. Someone said that ECW had a distinct look to it that made you feel like you were watching something that you weren't supposed to be watching. I don't know if that makes sense. Probably not, but that's the best I can do. ECW was indeed low budget, but they did some interesting things to capitalize on that to create a unique style of wrestling show that was heavily imitated in the Attitude Era, and also during the NWO storyline in WCW in 1996. Subtle things that gave it a certain style that closely resembled the first generation of reality tv shows that started popping up in the 90's.
Rob Van Dam vs Axl Rotten
Alright, so this is the ECW debut of a future WWE & TNA World Champion.
Robbie V was trained by Sabu and his uncle The Shiek. He cut his teeth in Japan and in WCW, and I've heard in one of his shoot interviews that he was being considered to be brought back to WCW to play the Glacier character later on in this year. Interesting.
The thing about this match is that while it was going on Shane Douglas was backstage pleading for Paul Heyman to put him on the show somehow. Heyman refused, telling Shane that he would be sued by the WWF since he was still under contract. Paul Heyman would make a phone call to Bruce Pritchard, who would put him in touch with Vince Mcmahon while this match was going down.
Heyman asked Vince to let him have Shane back, and Vince obliged. It was done. The Franchise was back. Just like that. It was basically a "You want him? You got him!" type of deal.
It's important to realize that Axl was coming off of his blood feud against Ian(who had been released around this time), so these fans had a lot of respect for him right here(you know, since he was tough enough to bleed all over the place).
Van Dam comes in wearing the top of a Gi and a red singlet on underneath. He's got a real nervous look on his face, and the crowd really doesn't know what to make of him. He just doesn't really fit the mold of what they were used to seeing up to this point. The thing that stuck out to me when I first saw Rob Van Dam was his resemblance to Jean Claude Van Dam. I was a big JCVD fan when I was a kid, but gradually I grew up to be more of a Bruce Lee/Samo Hung man. Through the years I swore up and down this dude was JCVD's little brother. I was shocked to find out that they weren't even related. Somewhere down the line these guys have the same ancestors or something, they just look too alike. It's crazy.
I've just noticed that Joel Gertner is not the ring announcer for this show. Bob Artese isn't ring announcing either. This is another Italian guy that pops up in some of the future shows, but I don't know his name.
RVD doesn't get much of a reaction from the fans during introductions. My how that would change over the next three years.
Van Dam throws some nice spinkicks that miss. The crowd cheers him. Axl mocks RVD's kicks before they tie up.
RVD sends Axl into the ropes. Van Dam does the splits to drop under Axl, then hits him with an arm drag takedown followed by a springboard high cross body. RVD then lands a couple of weird karate chop types of moves that look like something Glacier would do in WCW. The way he over does the facial expressions is funny. Cheesy, but funny.
RVD shines early with some nice moves, kicks etc. Axl slows him down with punches and headbutts. The fans start chanting "KICK HIS ASS AXL! KICK HIS ASS! clap-clap"
It's interesting that Axl is playing the heel as far as the psychology of the match(making the face look good, slowing the match down etc.), yet he's the face with the crowd. He keeps working the crowd by mocking RVD, even yelling out that he was going to show RVD an "ECW ASS WHOOPIN!"
Van Dam works his way back into the match. He lands his somersault over the top rope to the outside followed by his kick off the top rope.
Van Dam finishes it with the split legged moonsault with very little reaction from the fans. Even a couple of boo's. Wow.
It's interesting how the crowd just wasn't digging this young guy coming in and beating such a grizzled hardcore ECW vet in his first match with a move like the split legged moonsault. Van Dam did look sharp with his moves, but his selling was pretty awful. The cheesy way he was doing the karate chops cracks me up. Overall though, there really wasn't any big problems with the match. It wasn't anything great, but it wasn't anything unwatchable. RVD did have a unique style here, and you could see that he had a lot of potential.
ECW TV Championship: Too Cold Scorpio vs Mikey Whipwreck (ch)
Man I hope this isn't anything like their previous match where Scorpio completely phoned it in(possibly upset about dropping both the tag title and TV title to Mikey, and losing his 2 Gold Scorpio gimmick that he was running with at the time. Just a possibility, not a fact). These are two of the best workers in ECW at this time, so this should be good. Emphasis on should.
I'm loving this entrance setup they have here in the Arena for this show. It's a black tarp draped over some sort of apparatus placed in front of the backstage access door. It doesn't get much more redneck than that.
Scorpio comes out first with Woman. Woman looks very intelligent and classy as always. Scorpio works the crowd on his way to the ring when he suddenly sees a sign that says "No Gold Scorpio". His reaction to the sign is pretty hilarious. He just overdoes it like it hurt his feelings. Pretty funny stuff. Scorpio never made a good heel because he always had a hard time hiding the fact that he was really enjoying himself. He holds back a smile as he works the crowd over and tries to look tough, but you can tell he's just having a lot of fun.
A lot of stalling here before Mikey even gets in the ring. Scorpio and Woman's entrance was rather drawn out. Scorpio slaps Mikey, then Mikey slaps Scorpio back. Scorpio breaks out in a full on smile as he snaps back at Mikey threatening him. He can't help himself. That was pretty hilarious actually.
Scorpio gets the microphone and says that Cactus won't be able to save him tonight. He's going to kick Mikey's ass like it's never been kicked before. Mikey says he's just going to give the belt to Scorpio, then hits him in the face with it.
Scorpio recovers and puts the belt in Mikey's face with a big boot. Scorpio backdrops Mikey 12 feet into the air, and Mikey sells it beautifully. Scorpio hits Mikey with a big boot to the head as he's downed. Mikey's selling in this match is phenomenal so far. I always thought that was something he did really well, and this match is a good example of it.
Scorpio slams Mikey's head into the turnbuckles, and the way Mikey bounces his head back makes it look really, really devastating.
Mikey overtakes Scorpio and throws him out of the ring. Mikey lands a Suicide Splash and whips Scorpio into the steel. The two men fight around the ring with Mikey landing some kicks to Scorpio's midsection.
The camera gets in close on the action and I overhear one of the fans scream out "GO HOME AND DO THE DISHES!" at Woman.
I have a lot of respect for women. I know a couple of female MMA fighters that are better than most male MMA fighters I've ever known, but damn that was just hilarious to me. I've stepped up and defended ECW before about the anti-woman argument, but damn this show makes it hard.
Scorpio regains the momentum. Mikey reverses a powerbomb with a hurricanrana, then goes up top to do the exact same kick that RVD does. He botches it, and it looks like shit.
Scorpio regains the momentum again with a low blow. He takes Mikey to the outside and hits him with a running chair shot. Scorpio takes Mikey back into the ring and lands a really nice looking powerbomb. Looks more like Taker's "Last Ride" variation.
Scorpio sets a chair up in the ring and slams Mikey's face into it.
When I see 2 Cold Scorpio vs Mikey Whireck on paper this is just not the match I hope to see. These guys could do much better than this.
Scorpio hits Mikey with a legdrop and goes for the pinfall, but he pulls up like he did in their previous match. He rearranges the chair and tries to slam Mikey's face into it, but Mikey reverses it. Mikey busts Scorpio with the chair. Mikey hits Scorpio with several chair shots, then goes for a........
Correction, Bow and Arrow.
Yeah, this match is sucking some serious ass right now. Not as bad as their last match though.
Scorpio reverses Mikey, and drops him with a Tombstone followed by his moonsault off of the top rope. Scorpio goes for the pin, and again pulls up at 2. Mikey gets dropped with a Superplex, but Scorpio bullshits around with the pinfall again. Scorpio lands his change of direction splash, and again fucks around with the pinfall. Mikey surprises Scorpio with a Tornado DDT out of the corner.
Mikey hits a Super Rana off of the top. Scorpio rolls out of the ring.
Mikey backs Scorpio off into the crowd with a baseball slide and follows him with a dive off of the top rope. I spot a guy in the crowd wearing a really awesome White Zombie hockey jersey.
They make their way back into the ring and Scorpio lands a crisp thrust kick. Scorpio gives Mikey a belly to back superplex off the top rope and the referee goes down.
Out comes Raven.
Raven drops Mikey with a DDT. Scorpio lands a moonsault into a legdrop off of the top rope to win the match and the TV title. His 4th ECW TV championship.
These two guys could have put their minds together to come up with a way better match than this. I don't understand why they felt it necessary to brawl with the chair and out around the outside of the ring the way they did. They should have just worked a clean match that remained primarily in the ring, and it would have been a lot better.
Either I'm missing something, or there's something coming up to explain it, but I'm not getting the Raven involvement in the match just yet either. Overall really this match had a few cool spots, but I feel like I'm giving it too high of a score just because of who's in the match. It was really not good at all. I've come up with a term for matches like this. This was definitely a sloppy ass "Call it as you go" match. They just winged it, and made sure to stretch it out as long as they possibly could, which really hurt it.
Taz vs Hack Myers
Hack Myers comes out first. Sign Guy in the front row holds up a sing that says "1996: The Year of the Shaw!". Love it.
Bill Alphonso comes out wearing an Emmitt Smith Dallas Cowboys jersey. This event took place about two days prior to the Philadelphia Eagles divisional playoff game against their arch rival Cowboys in the 95 NFL playoffs. Dallas would win the game 30-11 en route to their third Super Bowl victory in four years. Eagles, Redskins, Giants, and Oilers fans were about sick an tired of hearing the word Cowboys by this time in 1995, so the jersey was a good call to draw some good heat.
No way Hack Myers is 22 years old here. The dude looks 40.
Taz gets in the ring and crouches down in that stance of his that just looks fucking awesome.
Taz is packing on a noticeable amount of muscle compared to how he looked in the past couple of reviews.
The crowd begins chanting a "FUCK YOU TAZ!" chant as the bell rings. They lock up and Taz reverses an arm lock to toss Myers to the ground. Joey Styles then says one of my favorite lines in ECW history:
"That's what makes Taz so dangerous.
He's not just a pro wrestler, he's one of these new hybrid warriors, made popular by these "Ultimate Fighting" pay per views."
Ladies and gentleman the future has arrived.
10 years too soon.
Joey Styles goes through Taz' legit amateur background, talking about his Judo background, even going as far as stating that he has won shoot fighting tournaments in Japan. Good one.
Taz slips around Myers' "Shah!" punches and tosses him with a Judo throw. Joey Styles calls all of Taz's Judo tosses by their actual Japanese names, then says that he was instructed to by Taz or he would, quote, "Break your fucking neck!", end quote. I love this shit.
Taz dumps Myers with a T-Bone Tazplex followed by a head and arm Tazplex, then a German Tazplex.
Taz locks in the tazmission to end it. Myers gives up.
Bill Alphonso hits Myers when he's down and the crowd fucking hates it.
Taz tells the fans that Sabu is scared of him, and that this was only the beginning.
Keep in mind this is a year, year and a half before Ken Shamrock and Goldberg in WWF/WCW. Loved every bit of this. I've always been a big MMA fan. The direction they took Taz's character here with this show is just awesome to me. The way he was using Judo moves, choking his opponent out. The character was a decade ahead of it's time, plain and simple. One of my favorite pro wrestling characters ever, and if I may steal a line from my man Baker223, one of my favorite fictional characters ever, period.
Buh Buh Ray Dudley vs Jimmy Del Ray
Here we go with the goof ball Dudleys. We got Chubby Dudley(some fat guy eating), DW Dudley(the Spanish Indian), Sign Guy Dudley, Big Dick Dudley, and Buh Buh Ray Dudley. The fans immediately shower Buh Buh with the stuttering "BUH-BUH" chants, followed by the "WHATS YOUR NAME?!" chants. He's pretty over.
The Dudley's are all decked out in tie die of course. Tie die made a comeback in the 90's.
Jimmy Del Ray is kind of old looking here with a fat, pasty white belly, a mullet, and Mr. Hughes of all people watching his back. Del Ray does a weird little jiggle dance that is rather hilarious.
Buh Buh tries to speak into the microphone, but he starts stuttering. Del Ray hits him in the back with a dropkick.
Buh Buh gets the upper hand early on, knocking Del Ray out of the ring.
Ah, this match is clipped on this DVD. Thank god.
We cut ahead to Del Ray dominating Buh Buh with punches. Del Rey hits a tornado DDT out of the corner and we cut ahead again.
We cut ahead to a point in the match where Mr. Hughes gets up on the apron. Buh Buh runs into him, but one of the Dudleys grab him by the leg. Del Rey gets distracted by the mayhem, and Buh Buh plants him with a DDT for the win.
We cut ahead again to Mr. Hughes telling Buh Buh that they found someone that could teach him some proper English. Mr. Hughes brings out Shane Douglas. Joey Styles makes a joke about his Dean Douglas powder blue outfit.
Shane goes on a tirade as the fans start chanting "DEAN IS DEAD!"
Shane slaps Buh Buh in the mouth and says "The Franchise is BACK!" followed by his trademark evil laugh.
Nothing good about this segment as far as the match. It was pretty bad, and I'm grateful that it was only some highlights of the whole mess instead of the entire 20+ minute fiasco. Shane Douglas' return is the high note here. The clique was too much for him to handle, and he wanted out. This was actually the beginning of perhaps the best era of his career outside of his tag team with Steamboat. Starting here, Douglas started packing on a lot of muscle, eventually getting bigger than he had ever been. He also went on to have the best singles matches of his career over the next year. He would also go on to become the most hated villain in ECW by the end of the year.
Stevie Richards interview
Joey stands in the center of the ring and brings out "Dancin" Stevie Richards. Stevie comes out in a fucking classic Headbangers Ball t-shirt. I love it.
Stevie is accompanied by Beulah and The Blue Meanie.
Joey brings up the incident from the last show where Stevie kissed Missy Hyatt. Stevie tells Joey and all of the fans that he is no longer "Dancin" Stevie Richards, he is now "Studly" Stevie Richards, the "Original King Of Swing".
Stevie tells Joey that he's the only American Male because he's better built than Bagwell, and he's way better looking than Riggs.
Stevie then tells Joey that Raven has been on a 4 week drinking binge, and that he's been neglecting Beulah. He says he's going to give Beulah a kiss, but Beulah rejects him. Beulah tells Stevie that she doesn't want to be touched. Stevie grabs Beulah and tries to force himself on her, but she pushes him away and screams "STOP IT!".
Stevie asks her what's the matter, "Is it because you're Raven's girl?".
Beulah tells Stevie that she's pregnant.
The crowd immediately all lets out a loud "OH!" like it's Maury Povich or something.
Raven comes running out and pushes Beulah around calling her stupid for not taking her birth control pills. Raven keeps calling her an idiot and moron until she builds up the courage to tell him that it's not even his baby.
Raven immediately turns around and starts beating the shit out of Stevie Richards.
She pulls Raven off of him screaming for him to stop because it wasn't Stevie's either. At this point the daytime talk show style crowd reactions have me rolling on the floor. This crowd is so into this right now. Everybody's on the edge of their seat hanging on to every word.
The fans on the front row all stand up and start pointing at each other.
She tells Raven that it's Tommy's baby. Cue the Guille them song from Street Fighter......
Raven immediately, violently snatches her by the throat. Raven proceeds to choke Beulah until Tommy comes running out. Dreamer drops Raven, Stevie, and The Blue Meanie with punches before clotheslining Raven over the top to the outside. Beulah drops Stevie and the Blue Meanie with a frying pan. Dreamer whips Raven into the steel on the outside and busts him with a chair. Dreamer rolls Raven back into the ring and grabs a sign from one of the ringside fans. He busts Raven with the sign, then unwraps the paper around it to reveal a hidden stop sign.
Dreamer DDT's Raven down into the stop sign, and then grabs a.......
Dreamer takes a big bite of the pie and then piledrives Raven down into it. Beulah comes into the ring and hugs it out with her new man.
Classic ECW moment. Dreamer never got wins over Raven, but he did get small victories here and there to keep the feud hot. This was one of them. He took Raven's girl. It doesn't make sense, since Dreamer gave the poor girl "Panties Up" piledrivers at each of the past few shows, but who cares. Maybe she liked it?
ECW Championship: Sandman (ch) vs Konnan
I like Woman, but Sandman's entrances got a lot cooler once she left him. They really drag it out and milk it for all of the time they can as they work the crowd and pose for the camera.
What makes it worse is that this is another one of those Delta region 0 DVD's with the music edited out. It's just some generic music along with a constant loop of crowd noise. Fucking with the music and audio like this really takes a lot of the charm out of these old shows. Definitely avoid these discs if you ever go shopping for ECW DVDs. RF Video.com and Heartbreak Kid here at these forums sell the real deal if you're ever interested.
Coming into this show Sandman was the heel and Konnan was the face. That's just not what the crowd wants. They break out in a "SANDMAN'S GOING TO KILL YOU!" chant. This is the oldest tape I've ever heard that chant on. These fans had grown to love the guy by now.
Sandman does a bunch of stalling to start it off. Something interesting is that the crowd is really getting on Konnan's case about something Eric Bischoff related. This was Konnan's last match in ECW before going to WCW, so I'm assuming these fans already knew about it somehow. They are really digging into him. The cool thing is that Konnan goes along with it, and flips his role into a heel just like that. He starts heckling them right back, getting them really pissed off.
These guys tie up in the single worst chain wrestling sequence I've ever seen in my entire life. This is like two drunk college kids trying to put on a backyard wrestling match. Bad, bad, bad stuff.
Konnan goes for some leg submission, but it's like he's not sure of how to do it. He keeps switching Sandman's legs around trying to find a hold. He eventually gets him into a leg grapevine type of submission, which Sandman reverses. Just picture that and imagine it in your head. Yeah. Ugly stuff.
Konnan wraps Sandman up in another submission. Sandman counters and wrestles around with Konnan. More sloppy shit.
The crowd breaks out in a camptown races chant that I can't quite make out. Something to do with Konnan being Bischoff's bitch. Good lord they are seriously laying into him here.
Sandman escapes to the outside and stalls some more. The crowd starts another different camptown races chant saying something about Konnan taking it up the ass.
Sandman gains the upper hand and the crowd starts going crazy.
Huge E! C! DUB! chant breaks out.
Konnan drops Sandman with an Enziguiri and a Hiptoss. Sandman backdrops him over the ropes to the outside, and follows him up with a suicide plancha. Konnan sends him into the steel and hits him with a steel chair. One of the fans tries to give Konnan one of those "The Club" anti-theft devices. If you don't know what I'm talking about you're probably too young to be reading this thread.
Sandman whips Konnan into the crowd, then suplexes him down ribs first across the railing. They brawl in the crowd for a bit before Sandman takes it back to the ring. Sandman opens up a cut on Konnan's forehead with some punches before knocking him back to the outside. He picks up a table and drops it down on Konnan's back. Sandman pushes the table back into the ring and sets it up.
The crowd starts chanting "BYE BYE KONNAN! clap, clap, clap-clap-clap"
Sandman tries to superplex Konnan through the table, but Konnan pushes him down. Really painfull looking table spot as Sandman lands awkwardly on his side.
Woman gets up on the apron and throws the cane to the Sandman as she distracts Konnan. Sandman lays into him with the cane. Konnan recovers to his hands and knees. Sandman tears into him with the cane.
Rey Mysterio comes running out and tosses Konnan a cane. Konnan blasts Sandman in the head with the stick. Both men beat the shit out of each other with the canes until they both collapse.
The referee does his 10 count as both men lay down and out. Woman gets up on the apron and pulls The Sandman up to his feet with two handfuls of his hair. Konnan is counted down. Sandman wins by KO. Woman releases his hair and he collapses down into the canvas.
Woman celebrates with the belt. Sandman staggers up to his feet and Woman drags him away to the back.
This started off as one of the ugliest wrestling matches of all time, but it kind of turned into a cool little brawl. It was interesting how Konnan adapted to the crowd on the fly, and starting playing the role of the heel. It was also interesting how passionately the crowd was ripping on him for going to WCW. Konnan openly admitted that he was recruited to WCW by Nancy "Woman" Sullivan, who was married to Kevin Sullivan at the time(WCW's booker). Some interesting stuff here considering how things played out, but overall this match was not very good at all.
One of the chants during the match was "U.S. CHUMP!". How did they know he would go on to win that belt? Talk about Smarks, good lord. Konnan was never really accepted by the ECW fans. It's interesting how guys like Eddie and Malenko got the "Please Don't Go" chants when they were leaving to WCW, but Konnan got an entirely different treatment. With the ECW fans you were either one of their guys or you just weren't. I find it interesting how they accepted guys like Hack Myers and Buh Buh Ray Dudley at this point, but something about a guy like Konnan just wasn't jiving with them.
One big standout negative with the booking of this match was Rey Mysterio's involvement. Heyman fucked up by booking Konnan to play the face in the match, and it wasn't good to throw Rey(who was being pushed as a top face) in there helping him. Not to mention pretty much every single match on the show has ended with some sort of run in.
Sabu vs Stevie Richards
Man I want Stevie's Headbangers Ball t-shirt. Headbangers Ball was a show that used to come on MTV from the mid 80's up until 1994. The show would play heavy metal music videos as well as interviews with the bands. Really awesome show.
Sabu goes after Stevie as soon as the bell rings. Stevie stays away from him, eventually escaping to the outside. Stevie throws Sabu a chair.
Sabu sets the chair up and does a double jump Air Sabu plancha that looks awesome. He overshoots Stevie and the Meanie a bit and flies into the crowd. Really cool looking spot. They take it back into the ring and Sabu hits Stevie with a spinkick, springboard leg lariat. Everything Sabu has done so far looks really sharp and on point. No botches yet, he's really in the zone here. When Sabu's in the zone he's one of my favorite wrestlers to ever step into a wrestling ring.
Stevie works his way back into the match with some rakes to the back. Richards lands a powerbomb, then mocks Sabu with the point to the sky. Sabu drops him with a punch and lands his slingshot somersault legdrop.
This match has had quite a few rest holds. Sabu has grinded the clock away with a sleeper and now a cross armbreaker armbar type of hold.
Sabu sets Stevie up on the top turnbuckle and hits him with a real nice looking Air Sabu from the chair. He gets some good height, and knocks Stevie out of the ring. Stevie gets back up to the apron and Sabu does a Sunset Flip, slamming Stevie down into the concrete floor.
The Blue Meanie attacks Sabu as he sets a table up ringside. Stevie tells the crowd to shut the fuck up and proceeds to beat on Sabu in the ring.
Sabu leaps up to Stevie's shoulders and pulls him down over the ropes with an inverted hurricanrana type of move. Stevie gets setup on the table, and Sabu goes into the ring with a chair.
Stevie moves out of the way of a dive, sending Sabu crashing through the table. Blue Meanie attacks Sabu and rolls him back in the ring. Stevie Richards lands another powerbomb and goes up top for a fistdrop. Sabu regains the momentum after a hurricanrana and another slingshot somersault leg drop(with Stevie teetering on the ropes). Sabu flies out of the ring onto Blue Meanie's shoulders with a rana. Blue Meanie and Stevie get their asses handed to them on the outside by Sabu. Stevie gets set up on a table. Meanie gets blasted with a chair shot.
Paul Heyman comes out and beats on the Blue Meanie with his phone. Sabu slingshots himself out of the ring onto Stevie, putting him through the table with a leg drop.
OH MY GAWD!
The crowd loves it.
E! C! DUB! E! C! DUB! E! C! DUB!
Heyman rolls Stevie back into the ring. Sabu goes for the cover, but Stevie gets his foot up on the bottom rope. Stevie gets a small package for 2 and half. Heyman gets a Sabu chant going.
Sabu lands a sick Lariat. Part of it was the way Stevie sold it. Jeez!
OH SHIT! Stevie with one of the best superkicks's I've ever seen!
That was really nice. Heyman screams in at Sabu to shake it off. Sabu kicks out of a cover. Sabu leaps up on Stevie's shoulders, and spins down around him to hit a DDT. Heyman throws Sabu a chair.
Sabu lands the Atomic Arabian Facebuster(Somersault Legdrop off the top with a chair) for the 1, 2, 3, and remains unbeaten since his return to ECW.
Blue Meanie carries Stevie to the back as the crowd gives him a standing ovation.
This was actually a pretty good match. It had it's sloppy moments, but Sabu looked pretty good. Stevie also worked his ass off, and that superkick was fucking nice. You could see them calling the spots as they went through the match, but they actually did a pretty decent job of it here. This wasn't a real good match, but it had it's moments. The action was there and the pace of the match was nice considering how long it was.
The Gangstas vs Public Enemy
Well this is it. PE's final ECW appearance for a long time. They would come back about 4 years later, but ECW was a totally different animal by that time, so things didn't quite work out.
The crowd is cheering them on already. These were their guys, unlike Konnan. Rocco Rock paces the ring with an emotional look on his face as Johnny Grunge gets the microphone and tells the fans:
"HEY! Hold on before you start that shit!Hold on one minute.Hold on one motherfucking minute!Now that you've seen the rest, are you ready FOR THE MOTHERFUCKING BEST!?Cus lets get one thing fucking strait right now.This house that sits on the corner of Swanson and Rittner is the HOUSE THAT MOTHERFUCKING PUBLIC ENEMY BUILT!"
The crowd starts chanting "YOU'LL BE BACK!". Rocco Rock gets the mic and says:
"You may take us out of ECW, but you won't ever take the fucking ECW OUT OF US!"
Pretty emotional little moment. These were their fans, and there was a lot of passion and truth in everything they said. out comes their arch rivals, the west coast thugs, The Gangstas(New Jack and Mustapha).
"If you're expecting any drop toe holds, flying headscissors, and armbars being exchanged, you've got the wrong matchup. This one's going to get ugly, and fast."-Joey Styles prior to the match
New Jack comes out wearing an Oakland Raiders trench coat, holding a noose in his hand. Classic New Jack. He gets on the mic and says:
"I got one question.
Did you motherfuckers think I was gonna be gone long? Hell no!
So now that you gettin ready to take the easy way out, the WCW, go down there and "Hay" this and "Ho" that. You know who created this shit boy!
But one thing I want you to do. I'll never aks you for another favor.
When you see them pussy bitches Harlem Heat, tell 'em, I invented this.
I invented this.
I invented this.
As a matter of fact, I called Santa Claus the other night. I said "Santa Claus, what do you think about Sensational Sherri?".
He said uh, "A ho, ho, ho"."
Here we go. Rocco Rock fights Mustapha, New Jack on Johnny Grunge.
Grunge is bleeding 5 seconds into the match.
Rocco Rock blasts New Jack with a pie. Joey says he's warming up for WCW.
The rings a fucking mess with pie everywhere. All four men beat the shit out of each other in the ring. Grunge lands a DDT on Mustapha.
Grunge and Mustapha take it to the outside of the ring. Rocco Rock does a nice somersault out of the ring putting Mustapha through a table.
The 4 men continue brawling in and out of the ring with cookie sheets, chairs, cheese graters, and an iron.
New Jack is bleeding all over the place as he brawls through the crowd with Johnny Grunge. Blood everywhere. New Jack gouges Grunge's eyes. The two men brawl their way over to the soundstage area near the Eagles Nest balcony. New Jack does a splash off of the balcony down onto Johnny Grunge on the soundstage. Rocco Rock beats the shit out of Mustapha with a frying pan.
Johnny Grunge and New Jack take their fight over to the entrance area brawling with chairs. Mustapha pushes a table into the ring. Grunge and New Jack brawl their way back to the ringside area. Johnny Grunge gets a pie from someone in the crowd. What's with all the fucking pies in this show!?!?
One of the funnier moments of the show happens when Grunge goes to hit New Jack with the pie. New Jack moves out of the way, and makes his way around to the other side of the ring with an "I don't do pies motherfucker" attitude.
Mustapha puts Rocco Rock through the table with a Vader splash. They hit a moment where everybody's tired and trying to figure out what to do next.
Rocco Rock does a really nice moonsault off the top rope putting Mustapha through a table.
Rocco Rock finishes it with his Somersault "Drive By" Senton off the top onto Mustapha. PE get the clean win over The Gangstas in their farewell match. They deserved it imo.
The Gangstas flee the scene and things get sentimental.
"First I want you to know, you're the greatest wrestling fans in the world.
Whether you know it or not, and you probably don't know it.
Just the energy you people create, makes us guys able to do things we normally wouldn't be able to do.
Ain't no fucking way, I'm going to dive off a 12 foot ledge, going through 2 tables, unless you make me do it.
And not only me. Every one of those wrestlers in the back feels the same way.
We love you, and we want to invite not only you, but some of the guys who danced in this ring with us. Whether they danced with us, or they danced against us, I want to bring'em all out for one last dance."-Rocco Rock
The show cuts away to a highlight clip of PE's entire ECW career starting with their very first promo when they declared that they represented a generation that was more afraid of living than it was of dying. Really, really nice highlight clip of them doing home invasions, getting arrested, goofing off with a stolen golf cart at Terry Funk's double cross ranch, their barbed wire match against Terry & Dorry Jr., stealing Heyman's car from the valet parking of a NY night club, fighting The Gangstas, moonsaulting fools through tables, celebrating with the crowd, Rocco Rock's amazing moonsault splash through two tables from the top of a cage.
The camera shot pauses on Rocco at the apex of the moonsault hanging upside down in mid-air. Awesome.
The clip continues showing clips of various promos they cut, acting goofy. It cuts away to one of their entrances where the crowd just starts going crazy with the hand's waving back and forth. Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge are shown coming out to the ring and celebrating with the fans, dancing around etc.
Two ECW pioneers. RIP.
That's a wrap. I'm sure they didn't want to show the farewell dance with the boys because it was a lot of them breaking kayfabe and going against all of the storylines running at this time saying goodbye to their friends. Too bad we didn't get to see that. I can understand why they probably cut the cameras, but I'd like to see it.
Can't say much for the match itself, other than the fact that it had a couple of cool moments(and funny ones), but there's a lot more here than just the match. I've said it before in past reviews, Public Enemy in ECW was like 80's glam hair rock. It's just something you would have had to have been around to experience at the time to really understand it's appeal. he PE stuff hasn't aged well, and one could argue that their legacy as an ECW tag team is overshadowed by the Dudley Boyz, but you can't argue the fact that PE did a lot to help ECW become what it did. They put the asses in the seats and the money in the bank from 1993 to 1995, the years where ECW developed its fanbase and it's trademark style.
The highlight video of their ECW careers was perhaps the best part of the entire show. Really well put together piece with all of their very best ECW moments. Pretty awesome tribute considering the fact that neither Rocco Rock or Johnny Grunge is with us anymore.
Overall: 8.4 /10
This was a really, really long show. It took me a good 3-4 sessions to cover everything that happened within this show. First I'll start with the bad. Some of the major complaints I've read about ECW around the internet are all here. Pretty much every match had some sort of run in or interference that determined the outcome. A lot of really stiff violence towards women as well.
With that said though, I really feel like the good outweighs the bad with this show. The whole pregnancy angle with Raven and Dreamer was pretty cutting edge twist to their storyline. Taz's MMA character is one of my favorite things about ECW(or pro wrestling for that matter). This show was just a really pivitol show for ECW's entire history. You had the return of Shane Douglas, the debut of Rob Van Dam, the farewell of Public Enemy, the classic pregnancy segment with Raven/Dreamer/Beulah, a beautifully booked Rey Mysterio/911 vs Eliminators segment, a solid Sabu vs Stevie Richards match, and a really awesome crowd that made for a great atmosphere even through the not too good matches like Sandman vs Konnan. You could tell all of these fans in the ECW Arena had grown to know each other well, and they would have a blast at these shows.
Whipreck and Scorpio stunk the joint up with their match, as did Buh Buh and Jimmy Del, but this is just an excellent, classic ECW show. Some good laughs, and some of the best moments in ECW history make this one worth checking out for sure.